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How to Decide Where You'll Spend Your First Married Thanksgiving

It's an important decision you want to get right.

Contributing Writer
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Photography by: Ashleigh Coleman Photography

Even though you've likely spent Thanksgiving together before getting married, the holiday takes on greater meaning once you're officially husband and wife. There's something special about seeing the two of you together at the family dinner table—the newness of your marriage in full view of grandparents, cousins, Mom, and Dad. It's a Norman Rockwell painting come to life.

 

Though you probably want to spend the holiday with your own family, you've got a second family now and they deserve your company, too. And if either of your parents are divorced, you could potentially have six different familial units: your mom and dad, your mom (and possibly stepdad), your dad (and possibly stepmom), your groom's mom and dad, his mom (and possibly stepdad), his dad (and possibly stepmom). Good news: You've got a lot of choices. Bad news: See good news. To make it easier for you, we're offering tips that will help you figure out where to go.

 

How to be a Great Thanksgiving Guest at Your In-Laws'

 

Factor in the next holiday.

Two major holidays—Hanukkah and Christmas—come up quickly after Thanksgiving. If you celebrate either you'll be facing the same quandary again very soon. So before you make any plans for Thanksgiving, consider the next big event, too. If traveling is involved in visiting either family, consider the timing. Does your company only give employees vacation at Thanksgiving? Do you have days available to use in December? If not, you may be better off spending Thanksgiving with the faraway family and spending Christmas with the local folks.

 

Figure out how much Thanksgiving means to each of you.

Different holidays mean more to some than to others. If seeing your 17 cousins gathered at the Thanksgiving table is always the highlight of your year and your new husband doesn't feel the same familial pull, you know where to go.

 

Alternate families.

It's simple and takes the emotion out of the equation: This year, you go to his folks, next year to yours, the following year to his, etc. No debating or confusion. Even your parents can't argue with the calendar.

 

Visit both families.

If they're within a reasonable driving distance, plan on spending part of the day with each set of folks. This isn't ideal—you'll be constantly looking at the clock—but it means neither of you have to completely give up spending Thanksgiving with your families.

 

Have everyone over to your place.

In a perfect world, you'll have the space to host both his family and yours. If square footage is tight, rent chairs and serve a buffet. And if you received any china as a wedding gift, now's the time to use it!

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About the Author

Nancy Mattia

Though Nancy has been writing about weddings for years, she admits that watching a bride walk down the aisle—even on TV—still makes her tear up. The New York-area writer's other favorite wedding moments are when the groom sees the bride for the first time, hearing the toasts, and when she sees a waiter with a tray full of hors d'oeuvres walking towards her. 

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